The Last Jail on Northampton Court Green

Northampton Historical Preservation Society Video Premiere: “The Last Jail on the Northampton Court Green”
Posted on 06/27/2019
Old Jailhouse in Northampton

Press Release: 

Sunday, July 28th, 2019
2:00 pm
at the Historic Palace Theatre
305 Mason Ave.
Cape Charles, VA 23310

Introduction and Post Q & A by Dr. Carl Lounsbury, Architectural Historian  

1914 Jail  
The 1914 jail (far right) on the Historic Court Green in Eastville, VA before it was demolished in 2017. 

Through the last 300 years on the Northampton Historic Court Green in Eastville, some courthouses and clerk’s offices were torn down and some still stand, but rarely have the many jails once seen on the green survived for any extended period.

When the Historic Society realized that the 1914 Jail was to be torn down, Dr. Carl Lounsbury, architectural historian and expert on historic Virginia court greens, was asked to make recommendations on how to retain its history if it could not be saved. He suggested creating a video, and although the 1914 jail is a primary focus for “The Last Jail on the Northampton Court Green,” the documentary also recognizes earlier jails on the Court Green now lost to history.

The video begins with a time when jails were just a holding place for court trials and immediate punishment. Dr. Lounsbury appears in the film explaining the progression of jail methods of construction, types of prisoners, and the treatment of prisoners. Eastville Mayor James Sturgis provides an overview of the economic growth that funded the construction of a cutting edge, early 20th century jail in a rural and isolated Eastern Shore. Transforming attitudes toward incarceration led to better prisoner treatment and healthier conditions. Smaller cells, areas to congregate, and modern utilities were included in the 1914 Jail.

Twentieth century manufacturing techniques that improved security and the methods of containment were also featured. Follow County enforcement officers and leadership as they provide a tour of the 1914 Jail and recognize its service. These new and improved ideas for the treatment of prisoners were introduced in the 1914 Jail and it served the county for close to 100 years. It was the last jail built on the historic Northampton County Court Green.

This program is free to the public and was made possible with the generous support of Virginia Humanities.

Please visit NHPS website for more information.

Released on 2/20/2019
Press Release:

1914 Jail in Eastville Historic District

The 1914 jail in Northampton is the center building just behind the courthouse and old clerk's office. It was demolished in 2017.


Eastville - The Northampton Historical Preservation Society announces the receipt of a $3,000 grant to produce a documentary video to recognize the historical role A run down 1914 jail in Eastvilleof the recently demolished 1914 Jail and other Northampton County jails that stood on the Eastville Court Green.

1914 Jail being demolished.

Once the video is complete, it will be shown in a public “premiere” screening and discussion
forum (date and place to be determined).

The Historical Society is pleased to acknowledge that this video was made possible with the generous support of Virginia Humanities.

The mission of the Northampton Historic Preservation Society is to preserve the historic heritage of properties primarily in Northampton County, Virginia through education, advocacy, and restoration activities.

Please visit the Northampton Historic Preservation Society website for more information!

For information and videos about the demolition of the 1914 jail please visit:

"Demolition of 1914 Northampton Jail" from Shore Daily News.